Google recently announced a major update in their ranking algorithm and how they rank websites in their search results pages. Mobile functionality, content relevancy, and site security are still going to play a major role in where a website ranks. However, Google now wants to give a higher ranking to the websites offering the best user experience. That’s why they have launched the Core Web Vitals. Which is a group of metrics designed to measure a website’s interaction capability and user experience. Google will be using these new metrics to update website rankings.
To help you get a jump start on this new initiative, our digital marketing team is sharing everything you need to know about Core Web Vitals. We’ll also share how you can improve your metrics to increase your search rankings and provide the best user experience.
What Are Google Core Web Vitals
Google’s prioritizing of user experience in website rankings is nothing new, and many legacy factors like site security and content relevancy will continue to stick around. Even so, the big shift is in how they measure a website’s performance, moving away from generic metrics to be replaced with Core Web Vitals, three user-facing metrics related to speed, interaction, and responsiveness.
First Input Delay (FID)
This component measures the time it takes for the browser to respond to the user’s initial interaction with your website. This could be clicking on a product category, hitting the search function, or selecting a blog article Measured in milliseconds, the longer it takes the lower your score will be.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
The LCP component measures how long it takes for the largest piece of content to appear on the screen. This may be a banner image, a block of text, or a video, but just like the First Input Delay, the longer it takes, the lower your score. After all, users want to access your content and have little patience for sites that are slow to load
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Have you ever clicked a button on a website only to be redirected to an ad because the button shifted during the page load? That’s what happens when a website has a poor cumulative layout shift. CLS measures the visual stability of your site. Specifically, buttons, headings, text, and images moving and shifting while the page is loading. A site with excessive shift will get a lower score than one that is stable while it’s loading.
Why Are Core Web Vitals so Important?
As we mentioned above, Google wants to provide returns that will lead users to the best experience. Optimizing your website to load quickly, offer smooth, fast interaction, and visual stability will provide you with a ranking boost. This will especially be true once the page experience update goes into full swing (usually these initiatives are introduced gradually). Higher rankings equal more visibility which leads to more traffic to your website.
While we understand that you want to meet these metrics to increase your rankings, the biggest benefit to leveraging your core web vitals is by providing your visitors with the best overall experience. After all, whether a visitor found you through Google, a pay-per-click advertisement, or even a shared social media post, a good experience will keep them on the page and increase the likelihood of a conversion.
Finding Your Core Web Vitals
The first place you can find your Core Web Vitals is through Google Search Console. On the left-hand menu, expand the Experience section. From there, you can click on Core Web Vitals which will provide you with an overview of your metrics. When you open the report, you’ll get a comprehensive look at which pages on your website need improvement and why they are struggling. This may be due to one metric or a combination of all three.
Rather than relying on Search Console for your reporting, you can also choose one of these options to check your metrics and get the insight you need.
Google PageSpeed Insights
This is the most commonly used tool for assessing Core Web Vitals. Powered by both Lighthouse and Chrome UX Report, it provides field data which shows how real-world users can interact with the site as well as lab data which is run under controlled settings. Not only will you receive an overview of the metrics, you’ll also get specific recommendations on how to boost performance.
Google Lighthouse is a leading tool that measures your website performance based on performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO. It’s easy to use and offers an action-oriented report so you can make improvements to your site that will boost UX and search engine rankings. The Core Web Vitals will be a part of the Performance metrics so if your score is low when you run the audit, you’ll see the specific areas of concern in the breakdown.
GT Metrix offers a third-party analysis related to how your site performs. It specifically focuses on speed and provides optimization opportunities. You simply run your URL through the tool. In just a few seconds, you’ll receive a free summarized report of your page’s performance. You can also take it one step further and test your page on over 30 different simulated mobile device options. This way, you can determine if your website’s Core Web Vitals are the same on both desktop and mobile devices.
Web Vitals (Chrome Extension)
Measure your Core Web Vitals easily with the Web Vitals Chrome Extension. This free resource provides a convenient snapshot of a page’s vitals at any time. Simply visit your site and click on the extension and get your metrics in just a few seconds. When you implement updates and adjustments, this extension lets you quickly analyze any improvements you put into place.
CLS Visualizer (Chrome Extension)
The Cumulative Layout Shift can be the most challenging to diagnose and fix. This is because you may have difficulties determining what elements on the page are moving and how. This extension shows exactly what parts of the page are moving and what’s causing the issues.
Once you have the data and you know your metrics, what’s the next step? Put the information to work and make changes to your website that will boost speeds and visual stability. This can greatly increase page rankings and user experience. If you’re not sure what you need to do to make these changes, work with an experienced digital marketing team! We can dig into the data, implement successful changes, and launch your website to the top of search engine results.
Let TheeDigital’s Digital Marketing Experts Help You Improve Your Core Web Vitals and Your User Experience
Need help implementing Core Web Vitals into your marketing strategy? Our marketing experts can help! Get in touch by calling 919-341-8901 or scheduling a consultation.
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